TV or not TV… that is the question.
I’m here today to admit to a crime. A crime so heinous that the punishment is too awful to describe here on a fucking family website.
I let my kids watch Television.
That’s right, the All Seeing Eye, the Boob Tube, the Vast Wasteland… Television.
Now I know that in this day and age, allowing young children to watch television makes a parent one of history’s worst monsters, like Hitler, Stalin, or Barack Hussein Obama. At least if you are a white upper middle class stay at home parent who should absolutely know better because he or she is well educated and has spent many hours pouring over Parents Magazine and the website of the American Academy of Pediatrics and therefore knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that allowing their precious little angels to spend even a minute exposed to the insidious emanations of the Idiot Box will keep them out of Harvard.
I think y’all can figure out what I think of that hooey.
My kids watch TV, I can live with that. Fuck, I watch TV. I’m a frickin American. I watch Professional Wrestling for chrissakes, it would be incredibly hypocritical of me to obsess over my kids TV watching habits as if I believed TV was as bad for them as crack cocaine.
Sure, a lot of this stuff is insipid and over-merchandised. If I could I would make Dora the Explorer disappear, hopefully to some place her equally annoying cousin Diego could not find and rescue her. I’ve seen almost every episode of Clifford the Big Red Dog and I still am at a loss to explain where all the Big Red Dog Poop is disposed of.
Sesame Street is not the same as the street we grew up with. Mister Rogers is gone, but his show lives on in repeats, perhaps forever. The friendliness of Captain Kangaroo has been replaced with the insipidness of The Wiggles. Yet still… I don’t feel one bit guilty.
Why? Because I know my kids. Sure my kids watch TV. Probably more than is recommended by the AAP. And they’re turning out OK. I think it’s because we don’t treat the TV like forbidden fruit. We don’t have a prescribed number of minutes they are allowed in front of the tube. We turn it on in the morning and watch Curious George with our breakfast. We pick up Baby Einsteins and Veggie Tales from the library and watch them together (I consider Veggie Tales, whilst cloyingly Christian, some of the funniest stuff made for TV). And guess what, when my kids get bored with it, because we actually have seen every episode of Clifford, then they move on to something else. They draw or build blocks or go outside. Abby practically lives in the back yard weather permitting. Carolina is learning to draw. Linus is learning to drool. And when they do watch TV, we talk about it. My kids never turn into TV zombies. You know who does? Kids who come over to visit from houses where they restrict TV like its methadone. You drop them at our place and Spongebob comes on and they just freeze.
I don’t wanna judge. One of my firm parenting beliefs is that every kid is different. Maybe a lot of kids turn into axe murderers because their parents left them at home with MTV on all day. But so far I don’t see it with my Hellions. I’m keepin my fingers crossed.